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Doodling to Become Debt-free

OD gets creative in paying back student loans

Earlier this summer, Nicole Nguyen, OD, says that she saw her cousin using an Apple Pencil when inspiration struck. Dr. Nguyen, who says that she’s loved doodling ever since she was young, decided to invest in her own Apple Pencil to use on her iPad so she could develop eye care-related doodles. Dr. Nguyen focused in on educational pieces that ODs could display in their offices—such as Five Reasons Why You Should Avoid “Affordable” Online Contacts and Diabetes In Your Eyes. Then she launched her Instagram page (@eye_scribbles) to showcase her hand-drawn customized optometry artwork to see if there was any interest in the profession.

Dr. Nguyen says that she was pleased to see her following grow quite quickly, and that’s when she knew she needed a marketplace for her work. She launched her Etsy page, which was “a huge learning process. I’m a type A personality—I wanted it to be just the way I envisioned it,” she says, laughing. She set a goal: any money earned would go towards her student loans.

Then the sales started coming in. “I’m happy with any sale, and it takes me one step closer to paying off my loans,” Dr. Nguyen says. She’s now displaying more than 20 examples of her customizable work for sale, and she’s working with a local printer, who prints poster orders as they come in.

Dr. Nguyen is a 2017 graduate of Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, and she has also enjoyed learning about eyes and health almost as long as she’s been doodling. She’s currently working in a practice in Virginia, where her patients inspire her educational artwork. “I am constantly seeing patients throughout the day, and when patients ask me a great question that I feel I can make into an art piece or poster, I start drawing.” One day, she’d like to open her own practice or partner with another OD and provide services such as dry eye care and management and specialty contact lens fittings.

Dr. Nguyen welcomes ODs to check out her Instagram page and Etsy shop and to contact her for orders or any special requests. She can change colors of her designs to match office styles, and she says that she’s happy to collaborate and create a custom piece just for your office. While she says that she doesn’t consider herself an artist, her creative work would say otherwise.

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